WATCH: RNLI releases distressing rescue footage and defends English Channel work

Mark Dowie, RNLI chief executive, has spoken out to again defend its humanitarian work in the English Channel. This follows the statement released by the RNLI earlier this month, in response to a terrible torrent of social media abuse and criticism of migrant rescues.

“I could not be prouder of our amazing volunteer lifeboat crews, who launch to the aid of anyone who is in trouble in or around the water and needs our help,” says Dowie. “We have done this since the RNLI was founded in 1824 and this will always be our ethos.

Mark Dowie

Dowie says that the RNLI does not “judge” its casualties based on circumstances which found them in trouble, stating that its crew go home “safe in the knowledge that without their help, the person they rescued may not have been able to be reunited with their own family.”

Dowie’s statement continues: “These same principles apply to our lifesaving work in the Channel. We do not judge those we rescue – where we believe there is a risk to life at sea, we will always launch in response to a call from HM Coastguard. We want to be absolutely clear that we are incredibly proud of the work our volunteer lifeboat crews do to rescue vulnerable people in distress.”

To accompany the statement, the RNLI also released this video:

“When our lifeboats launch, we operate under International Maritime Law, which states we are permitted and indeed obligated to enter all waters regardless of territories for search and rescue purposes. And when it comes to rescuing those people attempting to cross the Channel, we do not question why they got into trouble, who they are or where they come from. All we need to know is that they need our help,” says Mark Dowie, RNLI chief executive.

“Our crews do what they do because they believe that anyone can drown, but no one should,” continues Dowie. “They believe in and remain focused on our core purpose, along with every member of the RNLI, to save lives at sea.”

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